Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is hopeful that the Cincinnati Bengals will re-sign Andre Smith and bring in free agent linebacker James Harrison or Karlos Dansby before the NFL Draft begins this coming Thursday, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy.
The Bengals have been working on re-sign Smith since free agency began in mid March. However, the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement as it seems Smith is wanting quite a bit more money than the Bengals are willing to offer. The bargaining power seems to be on the Bengals side, though, as Smith has received little to no attention from other teams around the league.
Said Lewis of getting something done with Smith: "We're getting down to the time of that because we feel it's important. He wants to get it done but he has to get his representation and our people to come to an agreement. He's anxious for it to occur and hopefully it happens quickly. Everyone realizes when we get into the draft it becomes a different situation."
The courtship between the Bengals and linebackers James Harrison and Karlos Dansby is more recent. The team brought both free agent linebackers in for a visit and seemed at one point to be on the verge of signing Harrison. However, a deal wasn't made and it seemed that the Bengals may move to sign Dansby. Now it seems, though, the Bengals could sign either one.
"Either player that comes in, we make some adjustment to things we do and we feel good about them," said Lewis of Dansby and Harrison. "They bring some playmaking ability to us and would be good to have. They are good men and would continue to enhance the defensive room. Both guys are smart guys and that would be good."
By signing both Smith and Dansby or Harrison, the Bengals would likely change their draft plan. However, singing a free agent linebacker and re-signing Smith for right tackle wouldn't guarantee that the Bengals wouldn't draft an offensive tackle or linebacker early in the draft if one of those players happened to be the best available on the board, according to Reedy.
Still, having the team's right tackle back and having a SAM linebacker capable of starting, the Bengals options in the first three rounds of the draft would open drastically.